What We're Watching: Angry India

Indians hit the streets – Large demonstrations have erupted in the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata over a new bill that offers religious minorities from neighboring countries a faster path to Indian citizenship, in practice excluding Muslims. Hundreds have been injured in clashes with police, and PM Narendra Modi has called for calm. Critics charge that any religious-based exception to current law violates the secular principles enshrined in India's constitution. Some warn that this is an attempt by the ruling party, the Hindu nationalist BJP, to bolster its political support by stoking anti-Muslim feeling among Hindus at a time of slowing economic growth.


Thais do too – This weekend, several thousand people in Bangkok protested the army-dominated government's moves to outlaw the opposition Future Forward party. The demonstrations were the largest since a coup in 2014 put an end to years of increasing tensions between "red shirt" Thais loyal to the exiled populist billionaire, and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and "yellow shirts" loyal chiefly to the monarchy and the military. Future Forward, which is also led by a billionaire, the 41-year old Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has loose ties to the red shirt movement but has cast itself chiefly as the leading voice of younger Thais fed up with the political deadlock and the army's influence over the state. The authorities allowed the protests over the weekend, but as Future Forward looks to hold larger demonstrations in the coming weeks, we're watching to see how the government – and other opposition groups – respond.

The greatest goal in protest history – Football/soccer fans will argue forever about who scored the greatest goal of all time on the pitch, but when it comes to street protests, this Lebanese guy's no-hands handling of a tear gas canister in mid-volley is up there with Zidane's 2002 one-touch beauty against Leverkusen. You have to see it to believe it.

What We're Asking

Sports and China's human rights abuses – Speaking of football, another professional sports club found itself enmeshed in global politics over the weekend, when Arsenal star Mesut Özil, who is of Turkish descent, blasted Beijing for its well-documented persecution of Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group. In China, where Arsenal is immensely popular, state TV immediately dropped an Arsenal match broadcast. Arsenal quickly disavowed Özil's comments. The episode recalled the NBA's recent run-in with China over the same issue. So we ask you: should professional sports clubs or leagues use their visibility and reach to take a stand on major human-rights issues? Should players weigh in? Or should sports and politics be kept separate? Let us know here.

The world is at a turning point. Help shape our future by taking this one-minute survey from the United Nations. To mark its 75th anniversary, the UN is capturing people's priorities for the future, and crowdsourcing solutions to global challenges. The results will shape the UN's work to recover better from COVID-19, and ensure its plans reflect the views of the global public. Take the survey here.

As the coronavirus pandemic has plunged much of the world economy into turmoil, you've probably heard a lot about what might happen to "supply chains," the vast networks of manufacturing and shipping that help create and deliver all those plastic toys, iPhones, cars, pills, pants, yogurt, and N95 face-masks you've been waiting on.

The future of global supply chains is an especially important question for China, the world's manufacturing powerhouse. Some countries and companies now worry about relying too much on any single supplier for consumer and medical goods, let alone one where the government hid the first evidence of what became a global pandemic and sometimes enforces trade and investment rules in seemingly arbitrary ways. The US-China trade war — and the vulnerabilities it reveals for manufacturers — certainly don't help.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Got through the Fourth of July. Pretty rough one for 2020 here in the United States. Still in the thick of it as we see caseload exploding in the United States. But really, the virus is all about developing markets right now. Poor countries around the world very soon, with the exception of the US and the UK, all of the top 10 countries around the world in terms of coronavirus caseload will be poorer countries. Let's keep in mind, these are countries that test a lot less, which means the actual numbers, in the United States the experts are saying probable likelihood of total cases is about 10x what we've actually seen in the US, in emerging markets and most of them, it's more like between 20 and 100. In other words, this is really where the virus now is.

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Many countries around the world — mostly democracies in the Americas, Asia, and Europe — have condemned China's recent move to implement a draconian new security law for Hong Kong that in effect ends the autonomy granted to the territory when it reverted from British control to Chinese rule in 1997. However, last week 52 countries expressed support for China's decision at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Most of these countries either owe China a lot of money or are relatively authoritarian regimes themselves — but not all of them. Here's a look at the China-debt exposure and freedom rankings of the countries that took Beijing's side on the new Hong Kong law.

0: The trial in the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi opened in a Turkish court on Friday, but 0 of the 20 Saudi agents accused of the gruesome murder were actually in the courtroom. Saudi Arabia says its own closed-door trial over the slaying was sufficient, and has so far refused to extradite the suspects to Turkey, where Khashoggi was killed.

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